A Houston Astros front-office executive sent an email in August of 2017 asking scouts to spy on opponents and suggesting the use of cameras, according to multiple reports Saturday.
The Athletic first reported the news, providing a portion of the email that was sent to multiple recipients but keeping the sender unidentified. However, ESPN reports the email was sent by Kevin Goldstein, a special assistant to general manager Jeff Luhnow.
“One thing in specific we are looking for is picking up signs coming out of the dugout,” the email read in part, according to The Athletic. “What we are looking for is how much we can see, how we would log things, if we need cameras/binoculars, etc. So go to game, see what you can (or can’t) do and report back your findings.”
According to both The Athletic and ESPN, many scouts were taken aback by the email, not wanting to risk the possibility of being caught. ESPN reported others were “intrigued.”
The report of the email comes five days after The Athletic reported the Astros used a center field camera to capture the catcher’s signs to the pitcher in 2017, the year the team won its only World Series. Former Houston pitcher Mike Fiers was openly quoted in recalling the team’s efforts.
Major League Baseball has since opened an investigation into electronic-based sign stealing, not only surrounding the Astros but other teams as well.
The league’s rules do not inherently prohibit sign stealing, but the involvement of technology is a gray area. The rules were written more broadly in 2017, but the use of technology to steal signs and use them in real-time during a game would likely be punished.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)